"On That Day, the Israelites Were Saved."

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"On That Day, the Israelites Were Saved."

Michael Berg
January 27, 2021
Like 38 Comments 8 Share

There's a section in the portion Beshalach that raises quite a few questions. It says "On that day," which is speaking of the day of the Splitting of the Sea, "the Israelites were saved." The Israelites were in exile for 210 years with the Egyptians, and the going out of Egypt was the Redemption. But in Beshalach it seems to say that what we celebrate on Pesach, the Redemption from Egypt, wasn't so important, and that the Splitting of the Sea was the real Redemption. So, how do we understand that the Torah almost completely discounts all the miracles of the Ten Plagues and of the going out of Egypt, saying those things didn't mean that much, but what's happening "that day" is the great Redemption?

The kabbalists explain something Rav Berg spoke about often, which is that the only purpose of the spiritual work is certainty in the Light of Creator. Everything else we do, all the spiritual actions that we do, are to get us to certainty. Certainty is the goal. When the Israelites were in Egypt, it says that although they received great assistance and Redemption, they did not receive certainty. They were not yet living with certainty. Only after this Splitting of the Sea, it says the Redemption occurred… why?

The Israelites did not have certainty in Egypt and they did not have certainty when they left Egypt. They had certainty only on that day, and therefore, the Redemption was only at the Splitting of the Sea. Yes, there was a great physical redemption when they left Egypt, but the real Redemption is achieving true and lasting certainty.

In the portion Beshalach, Moses is praying to the Creator, and the Creator says, “Stop calling to Me. Tell the Israelites they should go, and you, Moses, should lift up your stick and split the sea.” So, there are two separate commandments: “Tell the Israelites they should go,” and to Moses, “Lift up your stick.” The kabbalists explain the dichotomy between what's being told to the Israelites and what is being told to Moses. It's an amazing and very elevated teaching; Rashi says that if a person has certainty for the purpose of having a miracle, the miracle won't happen. But if a person has certainty no matter what will happen, then the miracle can happen. Most of us think we need to have certainty so the miracle will happen. But we learn from Rashi that if we have certainty just so a miracle happens, it won't. But if we have certainty for the sake of certainty, no matter what happens, then the miracle can occur.

So, why does the Creator tell Moses to stop calling to Him? Because when a person prays and then sees what happens with that prayer, it actually stops that miracle being prayed for from coming. Therefore, the Creator tells Moses to tell the Israelites to go; maybe they're going to live, maybe they're going die, but don't tell them what's going to happen, because if they go knowing a miracle is going to happen, then it won’t. The Israelites have to come to certainty no matter what, because if they think they’re having certainty for the sake of a miracle, they're not going to have the miracle.

Certainty in order to have a miracle happen is not certainty. The real Redemption is certainty for the sake of certainty; then, a miracle can happen. Therefore, the Redemption occurred only on “that day” because the Israelites came to real certainty on that day. And with the assistance of ShabbatBeshalach, we can all, at least, be awakened to begin the process of achieving true and lasting certainty.

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